Register your child at a primary school

Your child may start primary school once he or she turns 4 years. You can register your child for a school when he is 3 years old. You will receive a letter and a registration form in the mail just before your child’s 3rd birthday.

Some schools expect that they will not have enough space for the number of children registered there. The registration procedure at these schools will be different from at schools where there is sufficient space.

Children can attend school as of 4 years

Children in the Netherlands may begin primary education as of their 4th birthday (or the appropriate nearest date thereafter). Starting at age 4 is elective, but attendance at age 5 is compulsory.

The Dutch primary school system operates entirely on free choice and there are no ‘standard’ state-run schools.

Step 1: Orientation

The first important step is that you become familiar with the school or schools in which you are interested. Some schools have walk-in times, others offer tours to new parents. The websites of the schools provide information about the school and how you can familiarise yourself with the school. The website Begin external link: link), end external link. provides an overview of all schools in The Hague and helps you to choose the right school. You make a list of your top choices.

Step 2: Registration

Approximately 2 months before your child turns 3, the municipality will send you the registration form for the primary school. Once your child is 3 years old, you can use this form to register your child. It is not possible to register your child at a school before he is 3 years old. You take the completed registration form to the school of your choice and submit it there.

Schools with a maximum number of pupils

Some schools expect to get more applications than there are places. These schools work with a maximum number of places. You can see which schools these are and how many places they have on Begin external link: link), end external link. . You can also ask the school about this. The letter you get from the municipality when your child is nearly 3 years of age contains more information about the registration procedure and the admission periods.

Admission criteria

Schools are allowed to work with admission criteria. Schools may determine themselves which of these 4 admission criteria they use and in which order. In The Hague schools may give priority to children:

  • who already have a brother or sister at the school
  • who go to a particular preschool which works closely with the primary school
  • who live close to the school. The school determines which area has priority.
  • whose parent works at the school

The school will determine if you meet the admission criteria. If you meet the admission criteria, your child will be given priority at the school.


If there are more applications than places, a lottery will be held. If your child does not get a place at your 1st-choice school, then the municipality will look whether there is a spot at your 2nd-choice school and then your 3rd-choice school, and so on.

Response of the school

You will receive notification within 6 weeks from the school where you can enrol your child. In the event that your child is unable to get a place at a school from your list of top choices, you will receive information on where places are still available and the way you can register (again).

Step 3: Enrolment

Once you receive notification about which school you can enrol your child, you then make an appointment with the school for enrolment. Once you and the school sign the enrolment form, then you can be assured that your child has a place at the school for the next school year.

Does your child have special educational needs?

If your child has special educational needs, the school may take 4 weeks longer in order to investigate whether the school can offer sufficient extra support.

International schools

A number of international schools in The Hague have their own registration procedure. If you are interested in having your children attend an international school, please contact the school directly for more information.

More information

More extensive information on choosing a primary school, registering and enrolling your child, admission criteria and the lottery system can be found in Dutch on the website Begin external link: link), end external link. .


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